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Obesity and Weight Management

Even Healthy Tailgating Can Be Fun

As the days begin to shorten, the air begins to cool, and the leaves begin to fall from the trees, many sports fans think of football games. And, what would football be without a tailgate party? However, sometimes the fun of tailgating is shadowed by the fear of how to handle all the food.

There is no reason why you can't enjoy a tailgate party; you just need to do it wisely. The key to a fun and healthy tailgate party is being adventurous with food preparation. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation.

The following are some tips for successful, healthy tailgating:

In addition, you can take the chill off of a cool day and make chili using the leanest ground beef or ground turkey, including a variety of beans for color and nutrition. And, to satisfy hearty appetites, make a barbecue using skinned turkey or chicken breasts and a bottle of low-fat barbecue sauce.

For vegetarians, try grilling mushrooms, zucchini, sliced onions, and peppers. Marinating the vegetables in fat-free Italian dressing before grilling will add extra flavor. Other suggestions include preparing a veggie tray with low-fat or fat-free dip, or filling a basket with seasonal apples, grapes and pears. Crunchy snacks such as pretzels and baked chips are also always a good, low-fat choice.

If you are still hungry, you can top it off with healthy desserts. For instance, fruit kabobs with a fat-free frozen topping and pureed berries is a satisfying and healthy choice. Or, in place of butter or margarine, use applesauce (the no sugar added variety) when making your favorite brownies or cookies.

While preparing your tailgating food, you should be mindful of the following food safety tips:

If you're sensible and include a variety of nutritious foods at your tailgate party, while incorporating smart food safety practices, you can't go wrong.

For more information:

Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: Feb 11, 2009

Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University